Dropping the "Cooper" in his name to avoid confusion with bit player Edward Cooper, British actor Edward Ashley was a seven-year film veteran when he came to America in 1940. His first Hollywood picture, and for many years his best, was MGM's Pride and Prejudice (1940). Ashley was but one of many handsome Englishmen wandering around the MGM lot, so the studio used him in anything that came along. He was afforded a rare star-billing credit in the "Passing Parade" short subject Strange Testament (1941), in which he played a New Orleans millionaire who left a monetary legacy to all Louisiana newlyweds as compensation for betraying his own true love. Freelancing by the late 1940s, Ashley appeared in several second leads and character parts such as the Commissioner in the Mexican-filmed Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948). Banking on his resemblance to Errol Flynn, Ashley played the Fox, a Robin Hood type, in The Court Jester (1956), but most of the derring-do went to the film's true star, Danny Kaye (who impersonated the Fox). Edward Ashley remained a journeyman actor into the 1970s, appearing with dignity if not distinction in such films as Herbie Rides Again (1973) and Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976).
by Hal Erickson biography